By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said it would be better if all regional or provincial offices of the agencies involved in containing the spread of the 2019-novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD) in the Philippines would give out the exact same information about the disease to the public.
In his radio program aired over state-run Radyo Pilipinas, Andanar said agencies involved should activate their spokespersons and relay the same information they are giving to people in Metro Manila to those in the provinces.
“Yung linya natin, iyon din ang sasabihin ng sa Manila, iyon din ang sasabihin sa mga probinsiya (Whatever we say here, the same should be relayed in the provinces),” he said Friday evening.
“Imagine kung lahat ng spokespersons ay iisa lang ang kanilang mensahe at tutulong din sa pag-disseminate ng tamang impormasyon ay mas madali ho ito para sa ating paglaban dito sa nCoV (Imagine if all spokespersons have the same message and will help to disseminate the correct information, we can easily combat this virus),” he added.
President Duterte in the Cabinet meeting this week ordered the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to spend more time informing the public of the health advisories and guidelines laid out by health experts, saying the public will be safe from the virus if they will observe preventive measures.
According to Andanar, they have started to post hourly updates about the 2019-nCoV ARD in social media. He urged the public to be responsible netizens and to always check what they are reading online because of the prevalence of fake news.
“Kailangan talaga magmasid nang husto… kasi hindi lang naman iyong traditional na TV, radio, newspaper… eh mayroon na hong online media at iyong mga fake news naman ay kadalasan ay diyan kumakalat sa online, sa social media (We should be vigilant because aside from the traditional TV, radio, and newspaper, we also have online media, and most of the fake news can be found there),” he said.
The Palace official also appealed to the public to cooperate and follow the government’s directives about the virus.
“Papaano natin ito mako-contain kung hindi makikipag-cooperate iyong ating mga kababayan, kung hindi sila makikinig ‘pag sinabi ng gobyerno: ‘Oy, tigilan ninyo na iyong mga fake news na ‘yan, tigilan ninyo na iyong pagiging Sinophobic ninyo’ (How can we contain the virus if the people won’t cooperate when we ask them to not spread fake news and stop being Sinophobic)?” Andanar said.
“We really need the support and we need the cooperation of the citizenry para mas madali po ang pagpapatakbo at mas mabilis ang pag-asenso ng ating bansa (So that things can run smoothly and our country can improve faster).”
Last week, Duterte asked the public to stop discriminating against Chinese nationals amid the coronavirus scare in the country, saying China has been good to Filipinos.
“China has been kind to us, we can only also show the same favor to them. Stop this Sinophobia,” he said. “That is an utter disrespect to a human being… It’s like Sinophobia. You hate everything that is Chinese. It is not good because I’m saying we have so many [Filipinos there].”